June 30, 2017

Carriage Corner Sew Camp

Just setting up the Sewing Space/Living Room
So, when we were looking for a bed and breakfast to call our own, one thing that was really important to me was a space big enough to hold sewing retreats.  The first B&B we seriously looked at had a huge beautiful common area - but that property needed more work than we had money, so we kept looking.

As we wandered around Carriage Corner, I kept wondering where we could set up tables and create a comfortable gathering place for sewists.  I played with the idea of setting space up in the garage - I mean there was a fridge in there - but honestly - it's a goldilocks space. (either too hot or too cold!)  Carolyn came to stay for a few days just after Christmas and we wandered around the B&B looking at space.  And then because she's a friend, we hung out in our personal space and did a little bit of sewing stuff (although we rarely seem to actually turn machines on).

It was agreed that the best place to have a retreat was in my sewing space/living room.  We are very lucky with the property we found - you see, many times the Innkeepers live in a room and we have an entire 2 bedroom house - which is accessed from the office.  It's easy enough to bring the dogs in and out through the front door so they aren't around the sewing room when we do retreats.  And - there is a kitchen, powder room, and tv - I mean, what more could you want?

Because our personal space is accessed through the office AND we are able to shut ourselves away in our bedroom - YOU are able to stay up as late as you like sewing or start early.  I keep the office door open to make the space more accessible and will show all 'campers' where light switches, plug ins for irons and remotes are at the start.  We more all the 'regular' furniture out of the space and have a folding tables set up in a large square to create community.  Both the cutting table and the dining room table can be used for pattern work and cutting.

So - we hosted our first sewing retreat in March and has 3 people attend.  Click over to the B&B Blog and read my 'why' behind hosting sewing retreats.  With 5 rooms in the B&B all having queen sized beds, I figure our max attendance is 10 people.  But I'm finding that even if you are really good friends, many of you don't want to share a bed with someone.  Fair enough.  So that puts us at 5 attendees.  BUT, two of my rooms have pull out beds with really nice mattresses on them - so that gives us 2 more people or a total of 7.

We are planning our next sewing retreat for July 21 - 23.  We start by meeting at the B&B around 10:00 am if you haven't stayed the night before.  I will serve coffee cake while I'm getting organized to drive to Fabric Mart.  While we go to FabricMart - JB will stay home, bring your luggage and sewing supplies in.  Once we get back to Carriage Corner, your stuff will be set up and you can get right to sewing.  I'll prewash any fabric that you need from your purchases.  Friday evening dinner will be 'happy hour' style with appetizers. Again - click over to the B&B Blog for the full schedule of weekend events - but basically, once we get back from FabricMart - it's all sewing, all the time.  Except for eating.  I hope you'll consider coming out and sewing sewing me.  I have a block on the rooms until July 6th - so if you are interested in attending - read the details, and then give me a call to reserve your room.

*and this will be the end of me schilling for the B&B on this blog.

June 23, 2017

Rifle Paper Southport Variation

 As so many of my recent sewing projects have been decided, this one started the same with.  With an email from Carolyn.  It said, "Do you want to buy that Rifle Floral to make a garment and then blog it?"  Do I?  Of course!  I started drooling over the lovely Rifle Paper Les Fluers as soon as I saw them hitting instagram. 

However, I am not buying fabric right now, and Carolyn is acting as my personal Susie Orman and she has been denying all of my purchase requests.  In fact, she had denied this when I first ran it past her (I'll provide the background in the next week or so).  

So - when Carolyn emailed and asked if I wanted to buy it - I was all over it.   This was my first order with Stylemaker fabrics and hope there are more 'approveds' in my future.  The site was easy to navigate and I really appreciate the Michelle sells her fabric in full yards as many small online only shops seem to sell in half yards.

Once the fabric was in my hot little hands, it went straight into the washer and dryer.  I have 3 dogs and I need easy care clothing.  Then I spent 3 days trying to figure out the perfect garment.  I was torn between a Southport and a shirtdress.  So, based on a email with Mary of IdleFancy, I made the Southport/Shirtdress hack.

First - I took new measurements and re-traced my pattern (and this, my friends, is why I don't cut my PDFs!).  I think this time I cut a straight 16 - I can see it needs a full bust adjustment in future - but honestly it's fine.  It didn't pull at the buttons.  When I traced the skirt - I added the same amount of width at the center front as the bodice for button bands.  I used the skirt pieces for the maxi and added 5" at the lengthen/shorten line and called it good.  Everything else I did the same.     


Construction:  I fully lined the bodice with white batiste, but not the skirt.  To do this, I sewed both bodices together at the shoulder seams, then put them right sides together and sewed up the neckline and armholes, turned the bodice rights side out, sewed up the side seams and serged the center front edges. Interfacing was added to the button bands before finishing that front edge.  Interfacing was added to the center front of the skirt, then it was folded under and topstitched just like the bodice.

To highlight the pale pink in the fabric - I used a pink ribbon at the waist and pale pink buttons.  I also added some buttons to the waist tie (which is way too long and needs to be shortened by about 12" on each side).   

This fabric was a dream to work with.  Michelle was lovely to order from and shipping was prompt.  I think this is fastest turn around in fabric history for me - it was sewn up within a week and has been hanging out waiting for it's photoshoot!  

Carolyn - thanks for "Approving" this purchase.      

June 17, 2017

Hello? Is this thing on?

hello!  I swear I didn't really fall off the face of the earth - although it certainly feels like it.

I feel in love with this goat at a local shop
 When last we spoke - I was just starting to tell you all about our vacation in San Juan last summer.  Well, let me tell you - that vacation launched an epic adventure.  Way back in March 2016, JB had his 3rd shoulder surgery - at least this time it was on a different arm.  Then, in April or possibly May  - The Princess advised us that she was going to be a mommy.  That little revelation set all the wheels in motion.  You see JB and I have long talked about owning a bed and breakfast somewhere.  We've always stayed in B&Bs, and 85% of them time the ones we stayed at were for sale.  See, that way the owners were a bit more willing to talk with us about the day to day running of a B&B.  

So - JB did what he does best, he focused everything on researching B&Bs for sale within a 3 hours drive of where our grandbaby would be.  We had narrowed our 'ideal location' down to a handful of place - Lancaster, PA; Horse Country, VA; The North Carolina Coast; and Buffalo, NY.  (Don't ask me how that made the list - because nobody wants to go to Buffalo).
beautiful houses in Jim Thorpe, PA

We had a great vacation planned and then we decided to to a quick stop over in PA on our way home from vacation last summer.  You might remember we did the same thing after vacationing in Spain, flew to New Jersey to spend a week with the kids.  So nobody was the wiser.

On our last day on the East Coast we agreed to meet the Princess at Carolyn's house.  It was a great halfway point from where we were and where we needed to be.  

We found a charming little (5 room) bed and breakfast with a great history.  We were able to take a little tour around while we were visiting, but then we asked the kids to go check it out - this was 2-fold; 1) we wanted to know how far it was from the kids; and 2) we needed their opinion.  It's really hard to buy real estate from across the country.  We flew home in early July and conversations started - with a real estate agent to sell our current house, with a broker about a loan, with an attorney (because they are needed in PA when you purchase property), with another real estate agent - and the list goes on.  We sent our intent to offer letter and listed our home.  From there - everything is a blur.  Honestly.  

So - that's enough for today's catch up.  If you follow me on Instagram - you probably know the story by now anyway.  You can find the B&B on Instagram and on facebook and I'd sure appreciate it if you would follow us.
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